I attended an education conference sponsored by the Washington Association of Realtors. One of the seminars was REALTORS(c) and Blogs, taught by Dustin Luther and Russ Cofano of Rain City Guide. There were about 200 people in the audience. All around me were real estate agents and brokers. Dustin was enthusiastic and clearly excited about the topic. Russ was even-tempered and a presence of authority and gravitas. It was a perfect set-up, and the 3 hours were packed with information. However, some in the crowd around me grumbled. A few harumphed. Others were skeptical. What is this blogging thing of which you speak, they asked? Where do you find these blogging things? Who reads these blogs? What IS a BLOG? Yes, it would be fair to say most did not get it. The average age of real estate agents in the U.S. is 54 years old. Now, maturity is not a bad thing. Age can bring experience and wisdom. But what I witnessed, mostly (not totally, but I’d say a good majority) were anachronistic responses better suited for the last century. Yes, all used a computer, all had cellphones. But that’s about it… really.
The most telling thing about this experience? Dustin asked the audience to go back home or to the office and look at Rain City Guide and leave a comment.
It’s now been 48 hours since the seminar. And we’re still waiting……. Not one attendee could bother, not a one.
C’mon you guys! I want to root for you, all you old cotton-heads and grandpa’s and soccer-moms-turned real estate agents. Let’s go! Show us what you’re worth, that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, that you ARE willing to keep up with modern technology and modern times, that you DO want to learn new techniques and ways of doing business. Prove to me that you see the value of social networking and open communication, that you embrace new modes of doing business and innovative ways to maximize your potential. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??!!??
Sorry. Ok. I’m calmer now.
I know that others don’t see this as we do. I know that, but I can’t believe it.
I work in an office of about 50 agents. Out of those, 3 have and read real estate blogs. And we’re in a dense urban core in one of the most wired cities in the U.S.. So extrapolate those figures out to the rest of the U.S. and it’s a pretty dismal showing…. However it’s just a matter of time, as the current agents retire and younger ones come up to take their place, that agents will enter the fray. But I’m getting impatient and I’m eager to take my business to a new level. But Iâ€™m not working in a vacuum. I do not see the professional competency I would like mirrored in all of my co-workers. I want to be surrounded with professionals who take their jobs seriously and who radiate competency and confidence. I want to be around smart people who are intellectually challenging and who are interested in doing the best job they can for their customers and clients.
I’m not saying that all agents should have blogs, or even need personal websites. Many don’t have much to say. However, all have the obligation to stay up on market conditions and their local economy and current affairs that effect their market area. They should have both a micro and a macro approach to real estate, so they can best advise their clients, be they investment buyers or just those searching for their dream home.
If agents can’t police themselves, then real estate associations need to raise the standards and licensing requirements and brokers need to be more selective and not so eager to fill an empty desk. Agents have a responsibility to their clients to strive to learn as much as they can about the market and the new tools that are out there that will assist them in becoming more efficient and competent in their jobs.
Agents and brokers should real local newspapers and websites for local news and they should also keep up with national and international trends in real estate and other issues that effect the economic climate. They should make it a point to keep up with new technological changes and innovations, both in real estate and in the market in general. They should also read and understand current events and political matters, as those have a huge impact on both the local and national economy, and they should become students of human behavior, as all these things will help them in their understanding of current conditions in the marketplace and help them understand the buying habits, fears and concerns of their customers and clients.
And of course, to round out their knowledge on contemporary real estate issues and concerns, they should read and comment on real estate blogs!